The Harder They Come May 20, 2010 12:46:07 GMT 1
Post by GLRuk on May 20, 2010 12:46:07 GMT 1
Okay, so its not strictly music per se - but if you ever find a copy of this film (or its accompanying soundtrack) GET IT!!
Starring Jimmy Cliff (wonderful world, beautiful people) as Ivanhoe Martin; a 24 year old country boy who moves to Kingston in search of fame and fortune as a Reggae singer, before realising that the only way he will make any real amount of money is to plunge himself into a world of crime and drugs.
This film presents 70s Jamaica as a spot-on microcosm of my own personal view of the twisted entertainment industry, complete with a network of evil fat cats, bent cops and dribbling sycophants that generally make up the (only semi-ficitonal) Jamaican music industry of 1972.
The character of Ivanhoe Martin is based on the much older story of a real Ivanhoe 'Rhyging' Martin who lived and died in Jamaica through the 1940s. He is generally though of as the original Jamaican 'rudeboy' archetype. However, I also have it on good authority that while not being based on Peter Tosh (of The Wailers), the character and attitudes portrayed by Jimmy Cliff in the film are much closer to his than those of anyone else.
Ivanhoe Martin comes to the city to make it big singing Reggae. However, he finds life in the city to be harder than he thought, and is taken advantage of by both the record producer and the marijuana boss he later starts dealing for. When he kills a police officer, events start escalating that make him Jamaica's most wanted man, and a momentary hero to all the oppressed Jamaicans. This is based on a true story.
A poor Jamaican, a 1970s anti-hero, tries to make it with a hit record but finds that payola rules. His record will only be played if he signs away his rights. He turns to dealing marijuana and runs afoul of the law. As an underground fugitive, he becomes a political hero. An outstanding reggae soundtrack underscores the plot, in particular the lines from the title song: "I'd rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave."